As anybody that has read my blog can attest, magic can come in many forms. We have received some spells from readers all over the world. We also know that there are many ways to practice magic. One aspect of the magical arts that we wanted to delve into more detail is herbalism. We haven’t published many articles on herbalism so far, so we felt it was time to add a bit more to our library.
Herbalism is one of the most important branches of the art of witchcraft. Wiccans the world over use herbalism to heal wounds, perform money rituals, talk to spirits and much more.
But do you know much about the roots of herbalism (I use the word “roots” figuratively, not literally here of course). You can find out more about them from the concept of Occult Botany.
This small treatise on Occult Botany, that is, the one dedicated to the study of magical plants, is based on the theories of the great Paracelsus. Paracelsus was the famous alchemist and famous revolutionary doctor from Switzerland in the 14th Century.
Of course, the art of herbalism can be traced far before the birth of Paracelsus. There is evidence that shamans and pagans were using some form of herbalism for thousands of years, as early as the Neolithic Period. However, most of the knowledge that has been formally passed on can be traced to the Middle Ages.
Birth, childhood. His first teacher. His initiation. Trips. Abbot Tritemius taught him Magic and Hermetic Science. Paracelsus, doctor and alchemist. His masterpieces. The transmutation of metals. His theory of the Three Principles..: Sulphur, Mercury, Salt. Mystical Paracelsus. Death of Paracelsus
One of Paracelsus’ principles was: “Only a virtuous man can be a good doctor”; for him, medicine had four pillars:
Although he made quite a few enemies and gained fame as a magician, he contributed greatly to medicine following a more scientific path and moving away from the theories of the scholastics.
He also contributed alchemical data. Paracelsus is credited with the idea that the four elements (earth, fire, air, and water) belonged to fantastic creatures that existed before the world. Thus, earth would belong to the gnomes, water to the nereids (aquatic nymphs), air to the sylphs (wind spirits), and fire to the salamanders (fire fairies).
Likewise, Paracelsus accepted galenic temperaments and associated them with the four fundamental flavors. This association had such diffusion in its time that even today, in colloquial language, we refer to a sweet (calm, phlegmatic), bitter (choleric), salty (sanguine, dicharachero) character and the acidic character would belong to the melancholic temperament.
You might want to read about it: Paracelsus
I found a great book on herbal magic from the blog Ciculo de Brujos. This book was originally in Spanish, but you can find an English version as well.
The book on Occult Botany covers the basic fundamentals. It begins with an overview of the vegetable kingdom. Then it talks about Botanogeny, Hermetic theories and the Advent of the Vegetal Kingdom.
Future chapters discuss the static constitution of the plant. Plant Physiology includes everything from Anatomy, Grain growth, Root growth, Stem growth, The Tree, Production of knots, Production of branches, The Flower, Plant Paradise, The Grain and The Fruit.
If you keep reading, you will learn about Maturity before finding the Summary. There are also sections on The Body and The soul of the Plant. Plants and Animals. General conclusion. Vegetal Physiognosis. Binary key.
This is a great book worth checking out. We encourage all new wiccans to read it as a primer on herbal magic.